NJ Offshore 2.0 forum gets down to business

By: Bill O’Hearn

ReThink Energy, a New Jersey environmental group that focuses on promoting clean energy and the newest member of the Network, followed up their sponsorship of the NJ Offshore 2.0! forum by releasing a new poll conducted by Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind™ that showed almost three quarters of New Jerseyans (73%) support offshore wind.

Nearly 90% of those surveyed also believe renewable energy is important to the overall health of New Jersey, and nearly 75% are willing to pay $5 to $10 more per month on their energy bills for energy generated from solar and wind. And, approximately four of five (78%) New Jerseyans favor a goal of 80% renewable energy in New Jersey by 2050.

“The timing of this poll couldn’t be better,” said the Liz Burdock, Executive Director for the Business Network for Offshore Wind. “We are delighted to have ReThink Energy join the Network, and this survey confirms the state’s commitment to clean energy just in time for the fall’s political campaigns to address this key issue.”

She also thanked ReThink Energy for sponsoring the conference, and for having the vision to understand that environmental groups and the offshore wind industry need to work together in order to achieve our emissions-reduction goals.

On Monday, September 18, the Business Network for Offshore Wind (the Network) kicked off NYC Climate Week by hosting a breakfast forum at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ, right across the Hudson River from midtown Manhattan.

“We called this forum “NJ Offshore 2.0!,” said Network Executive Liz Burdock, “because we want the New Jersey business and environmental communities to know that their state is getting back into the offshore wind energy business after 8 years of standing on the sidelines.”

The conference’s four presentations focused on the business side of the offshore wind energy industry before a diverse audience of labor leaders, environmentalists, government officials and technical experts. After a welcome from the Network’s Board Chair, Kevin Pearce of Siemens, Liz Burdock opened the session with a brief history of offshore wind in the U.S., some trends in the market, and current projects under way on the East Coast.

Jim Bennett, Renewable Energy Program Manager for the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) then led a detailed description of the steps required to complete the Renewable Energy Authorization Process, including the environmental reviews and approvals required before starting construction. Jim made some news by telling the room that BOEM sees no problems with staff or funding cuts slowing down the agency’s approval timelines.

Atlantic Wind Connection’s President Markian Melnyk covered the important issue of connecting offshore wind to the grid, and showed how an offshore, underwater grid could help deliver offshore electricity to New Jersey cities when and where they need it.

Elizabeth Treseder, the Senior Regulatory Manager for North America for DONG Energy, then closed the session by outlining the plans for their Ocean Wind project in New Jersey, a wind energy area located about 10 miles off of Atlantic City. Ocean Wind when built will provide enough clean electricity to power more than 500,000 homes. She also touched on the dramatic cost reductions recently seen in offshore projects in Europe, which will make U.S. wind farms more affordable for American ratepayers.

“Our successful conference and this new poll prove that this is just the beginning of an exciting time for offshore wind in New Jersey,” said Burdock, “and we expect to see rapid progress as a new state administration takes over in January.”

Network presents at POET’s Ocean Renewable Energy Conference

The Network assisted Pacific Ocean Energy Trust (POET) to introduce offshore wind into the 12th annual Ocean Renewable Energy Conference. Historically, the conference has focused on wave and tidal renewable energy technologies and was held in Portland, Oregon, September 13th and 14th.

Screen Shot 2017-09-19 at 11.53.05 AMThe Network provided the keynote speech on the opening day with the presentation ‘Lift Off’. Ross Tyler represented the Network and in his speech, described the advancement of the industry witnessed on the East Coast in the past year. The remarks provided a celebration of getting OSW off the ground—or spinning—off the east coast but underscored that the result came after 17 years of much effort from many individuals and companies, some of whom were attending the conference. 

The presentation concluded with these main messages:

• Expertise from Europe is helping the East Coast and the same expertise is available for the benefit of the West Coast. In addition, the U.S. has its own commercial pool of relevant knowhow embedded in other domestic industry sectors, such as oil and gas, renewables in general—including wave and tidal—automotive, composites and IT.

  • The U.S. has sufficient resources of significant scale and high levels of demand, for clean energy along the coasts, that there is a need for the U.S. offshore wind stakeholders to accelerate their regional interests, their national and technological interests in order for the U.S. offshore wind market to continue with its upward lift to orbit. It has the potential to lead—particularly with floating offshore wind—and ensure the sector is not relinquished to other nations. 
  • “Working together – we can do it!”

The Network assembled and moderated a panel that featured technological ways to enable floating offshore wind. The presentations addressed different ways to drive down some of the factors contributing to cost that would result in a lower price for the ratepayer. Examples focused on using new high resolution optical technologies with fast data image processing for more accurate and cost effective environmental impact assessments. The presentation was delivered by a new Network member, Julia Robinson Willmott of Normandeau. 

The panel then focused on examples of modern technological advances found within the Oil and Gas industry which included deep moorings; subsea cable buoyancy; cable connections and repairs; and autonomous underwater inspection systems. Attention was given to port infrastructure that will provide the interface between the land and maritime supply chain in constructing and maintaining the floating offshore wind farms

New member Mathew Palmer of WSP–and its extensive European engineering offshore wind expertise–highlighted the  importance of “measuring twice and building once” with sophisticate quality assurance and control.

The Network was pleased to contribute to the introduction of offshore wind within the Ocean Renewable Energy Conference and was pleased with the inclusion of members: DNV-GL, Principle Power, the Regional Council of Carpenters, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Trident and Statoil. The Network was also pleased to see the participation of collaborative partners: Bureau of Ocean Management; National Renewable Energy Laboratory and MOWII, along with the University of Maine.

Network Statement on DOI Appropriations Amendment

Baltimore, Maryland – July 19, 2017 —The Business Network For Offshore Wind, a leader in building the U.S. offshore wind supply chain, believes addressing stakeholder conflicts throughout the offshore wind development process is critical. The U.S. House of Representative Interior Appropriations SubCommittees approval of an amendment that prohibits federal funds to conduct reviews of site assessment or construction and operation plans for any project that would entail the construction or location of wind turbines less than 24 nautical miles from the State of Maryland shoreline circumvents the established DOI’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) regulatory process. It could also undermine the State of Maryland’s investment in the offshore wind projects.

BOEM has entered long-term lease contracts with developers and received many millions of dollars in return for material use of the defined areas in the ocean. To suddenly and subsequently disallow the use for which the contract was originally agreed could result in a breach of contract and possible constitutional violation.

BOEM requires extensive stakeholder outreach and marine spatial planning process that de-conflicts the wind energy area prior to the Point of Sale Notice (PSN). Furthermore, BOEM’s Construction and Operations Plan approval also requires stakeholder outreach and input in order to minimize conflicts. The Network has witnessed firsthand how BOEM’s offshore wind energy area leasing policies foster the co-existence of industries and shared utilization of our nation’s ocean resources to the benefit of the states, their businesses, and citizens.

It is the Network’s and its more than 150 members’ position that conflicts that arise can be resolved with sound science, education and a willingness to cooperate. We remain committed to resolving these concerns based on meeting the mutual needs of all the parties across the State. We hope that this issue will be resolved quickly and that the Maryland offshore wind projects can be developed within a timely manner to benefit the emerging offshore wind industry supply chain.

Seatower announced as winner of the 2017 EURELECTRIC Industry Award

Baltimore, June 20, 2017 – Seatower AS was today announced as winner of the 2017 EURELECTRIC Industry and Innovation Award.

“It is a great honor for the Seatower team to accept this award,” said Petter Karal, CEO and co-founder of Seatower. “The EURELECTRIC conference is regarded as the leading industry event for electricification in Europe, and our cranefree foundation has been voted by industry leaders to be leading edge to ensure driving cost down in the offshore wind industry in the coming years.”

The first Seatower Cranefree Gravity foundation for offshore wind was successfully installed in the British Channel approximately 15 km off the French coast at 30 meters water depth.

“EURELECTRIC highlighted new technologies that facilitate innovation in the value chain and I am excited to contribute with our technology in these developments and facilitate the transition that the energy sector is currently facing,” Karal said.

The Seatower design is a commercial cost-effective solution perfect for larger turbines. Installation of the self-installing foundation can happen also during winter time and in harsh offshore conditions, which is one of several advantages that reduce the total cost of igravity-based foundations.

In addition to the industry award, the EURELECTRIC Student Award went to Maria-Ruxandra Luca, a student at the Faculty of Power Engineering, University Politechnica of Bucharest for the best video creation on the topic of electrification. Ms. Luca’s video entry was on vehicle to grid (V2G) technology.

Last year, offshore wind analysts MEC Intelligence released a revised study comparing various offshore wind foundations. This study found that Seatower’s Cranefree foundation is the lowest cost option for offshore wind turbines from 8 MW and up–the size category that will soon become the industry norm.

To read the MEC Intelligence Report, visit: www.mecintelligence.com.

A video explaining fabrication and installation methods is available here.

Statement on President’s Trump Withdrawal From Paris Accord

Today, President Trump announced his intention to withdraw the US from the Paris climate accord.

 While the decision is unfavorable for the US’s leading position on a global scale in combatting climate change, experts have stated that a formal withdrawal from the Paris Agreement would take a minimum of four years.

Nationally, experts have said that the trend towards renewable energy technologies are based on economics rather than regulation, and the withdrawal will not do much to halt that progress. Similarly, President Trump’s decision will not impede the implementation and development of offshore wind energy in the United States. Progressive states will lead America’s fight to combat climate change. Governors, mayors and other state officials who have championed renewable energy will be more emboldened to take action. Maryland’s commitment to financing 368 MW will remain intact, Massachusetts will move forward with the large-scale procurement of offshore wind and the 90 MW offshore wind development in New York, and New York’s plan to achieve 2,400 MW is secure.

At the Network, we will continue to pursue our goals to increase the strength and broaden the scope of offshore wind energy on the east coast.

 Thank you for your continued support.

Network Statement on President’s Trump Withdrawal From Paris Accord

Today, President Trump announced his intention to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accord.

While the decision is unfavorable for the US’s leading position on a global scale in combating climate change, experts have stated that a formal withdrawal from the Paris Agreement would take a minimum of four years.

Nationally, experts have said that the trend towards renewable energy technologies are based on economics rather than regulation, and the withdrawal will not do much to halt that progress. Similarly, President Trump’s decision will not impede the implementation and development of offshore wind energy in the United States. Progressive states will lead America’s fight to combat climate change. Governors, mayors and other state officials who have championed renewable energy will be more emboldened to take action. Maryland’s commitment to financing 368 MW will remain intact, Massachusetts will move forward with the large-scale procurement of offshore wind and the 90 MW offshore wind development in New York, and New York’s plan to achieve 2,400 MW is secure.

At the Network, we will continue to pursue our goals to increase the strength and broaden the scope of offshore wind energy on the east coast.

Thank you for your continued support.

Book your hotel room for the IPF now!

It’s that time again! The 2018 International Offshore Wind Partnering Forum will be held in Princeton, New Jersey on April 3-6, 2018. Our hotel is the lovely Westin Princeton at Forrestal Village. The hotel was sold out last year so book your room now!

Business Network for Offshore Wind Statement on Maryland Approving 368 Megawatts of Offshore Wind Power

The Maryland Public Service Commission Finances Two Offshore Wind Projects 

Baltimore, Maryland –May 11, 2017 —The Business Network for Offshore Wind, the leader in building the U.S. offshore wind supply chain, commends the Maryland Public Service Commission for awarding financing for two offshore wind projects. The Maryland Public Service Commission’s (MD PSC) approval and financing of US Wind and Skipjack Offshore Energy, LLC’s combined 368 MW projects solidify offshore wind as a U.S. industry.

Maryland has more than 800 businesses working in and around Baltimore’s ports many of which have potential to provide support for scaling the U.S. offshore wind industry. With the approval of these offshore wind projects and the conditions set forth by the MD PSC on the developers to invest millions of dollars in port infrastructure and steel fabrication, these businesses can start to gain offshore wind experience and a strong market position in other U.S. offshore wind projects. In addition, the economic impact of these projects will be dispersed from Western Maryland to the Eastern Shore.

“Maryland no longer stands at the doorstep of ushering in this new industry; it has stepped over the threshold. The award of these projects is the launching point for great economic growth for Maryland: its businesses, and its citizens. Maryland continues to lead–achieving the first commercial scale offshore wind projects in the United States, as well as reaping the environmental benefits of this large-scale, clean, renewable energy”, said Liz Burdock, Executive Director of the Business Network for Offshore Wind.

Offshore wind was first introduced to Marylanders in 2008. Legislative bills were written and presented to the Maryland legislators for three years commencing in 2010. The Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act was passed in 2013 and promptly signed into law before the present developers was even considering the lease opportunities. Many, many people, from within state agencies, legislators, businesses, foundations, environment groups, academics, religious groups, health centers and citizens have all contributed to make this a historic day.

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The Network’s Industry Symposium Takes California Offshore Wind Beyond ‘Floating an Idea’ to Launching a Clean Energy Sector

March 2, 2017, Tsakopoulos Library Gallery, Sacramento, California, the Business Network for Offshore Wind, in conjunction with Pacific Offshore Energies Trust (POET) hosted a full-day symposium with offshore wind developers, businesses, and Federal and State regulators to ensure offshore wind becomes part of California’s future clean energy mix.

The formal panels throughout the day provided insights into capturing the European downward trends in offshore wind electricity prices; the importance of the port infrastructure, availability of logistics for a planned supply-chain roll-out; and examples of the training required for skills to match the demands of building offshore wind facilities. World class offshore wind developers including Principle Power, Dong Energy, Statoil, Magellan Wind and Trident Wind all defined their views and interest in advancing floating offshore wind along California’s coast.

UK’s Catapult described the shifting trends in Europe and the work presently underway to optimize efficiency while the National Renewable Energy Laboratory demonstrated its approach for quantifying the potential energy, which would commercially be connected to California’s grid. All participants remained mindful of the respect needed to work with multiple present users of California’s existing coastal waters including fisheries. A range of environmental specialists shared details that contrasted differences of west coast and east coast bird types as well as advanced technologies and monitoring practices that could be used to support utility scale projects through California’s multiple environmental permitting process.

This Symposium provided a platform for the California Energy Commission along with the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to repeat some of the points underscored in a follow up meeting as the two organizations prepare for the July 13th Task Force meeting.

This summer there is a potential for up to 6 offshore wind energy sites to be selected by BOEM off the coast of California. As many expect the U.S. east coast to have 10 GW of fixed bottom offshore wind deployed by 2030, there is little to doubt about the strong interest to have 50 GW of offshore wind connected to California’s grid by the same date. There is no looking back: we are beyond floating the idea of developing offshore wind along the west coast.

Meet Deepwater Wind and US Wind: Maryland Offshore Wind Industry Breakfast

March 7th Maritime Institute Conference Center, Linthicum Heights, Maryland

By Ross Tyler, Business Network for Offshore Wind

The Business Network for Offshore Wind convened a ‘share day’ between industry and Maryland’s contending offshore wind developers: Deepwater Wind and US Wind. The half-day event commenced with a “members’ only” meet-and-greet with Deepwater Wind executive Chris Van Beek. Each of the members was able to share their corporate profile and to ask poignant questions of the company’s plans for using Maryland based companies and its vision for how U.S. offshore wind sector is likely to ramp-up in the coming years. The members provided Deep Water Wind with a rapid and comprehensive insight into the rich variety and full spectrum of corporate capabilities and competencies that are available for mid-Atlantic offshore wind deployment.

The breakfast networking session filled the conference room with a total 150 attendees comprised of guests and other stakeholders who were invited to participate. Liz Burdock, Executive Director of the Network, formally opened the second part of the event and stressed the importance of the fast approaching May 17th, 2017 deadline for the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC). The PSC is expected to announce which of the two developers will be awarded the Offshore Renewable Energy Credit (OREC) – a mechanism crowning Maryland as the most advanced state policy in the nation – that provides financial assurance to enable the developers to secure third party project financing. Ross Tyler, also representing the Network, followed by providing a summary of a new report, commissioned by the Baltimore Propeller Club. The joint report compiled by the Network and BVG Associates in the UK, focuses on the global trends in which different industry sectors are diversifying their market targets to include offshore wind. There are strong parallel skill sets for different phases of the offshore wind sector that can be found beyond oil and gas but also within: aerospace and defense; automotive; composites; nuclear; dredging; rail; and other renewable energy sectors such as onshore wind. The Maryland Department of Commerce has provided a list of over 80 in-state aerospace & defense companies, many of which could provide a local resource for the offshore wind developers.

Chris Van Beek from Deepwater Wind, presented detailed insights into each of the steps the company took during the permitting, constructing, and commissioning of the Block Island Wind Farm project. Clint Plummer from Deepwater Wind went on to share the plans to develop the mid-Atlantic with staggered increments to match demand and business rate payers’ appetite. Paul Rich from US Wind underscored a fundamentally different approach with a more accelerated goal for scale to attract and to anchor original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) such as JDR cables from the UK, and possibly Heavy Metal Fabricators from Rhode Island. Sam Berne from the Maryland Energy Administration concluded the formal part of the program by providing a history of the OREC; an overview of the process; and assistance programs for small businesses, minority-owned businesses and the specific industry skill needs. The morning concluded with a question and answer session, extensive networking, and a reminder for businesses wanting to have the nation’s first commercial scale offshore wind industry started in Maryland, that they (and other interested individuals) should make their voices heard at the PSC public hearings:

Saturday, March 25th, 2017 Beginning at 12:00 Noon
Stephen Decatur Middle School Cafeteria
9815 Seahawk Road Berlin, Maryland 21811T

Thursday, March 30th, 2017 Beginning at 6:00 p.m.
Joint Committee Hearing Room Legislative Services Building 90 State Circle
Annapolis, Maryland 21401

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